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Schools & Child Care

Substance Use Resources for Elementary Educators

Attitudes about drugs and alcohol are initially formed in the home, and are later strongly influenced by teachers and peers. Research demonstrates delayed onset of drug and alcohol use is vital to healthy brain development and good mental health. In addition, children and youth that use drugs or alcohol before age 14 are more likely to develop drug dependence issues at some point later in their lives, compared to those starting after 21 years. According to the literature, early drug and alcohol prevention ideally begin just prior to the average age of onset of use; which is widely supported to be between Grade 7 and 9.

For stats and details on Ontario Student Drug Use – Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS).

  • Ophea H&PE Curriculum Lesson Plans - Offers lesson plans, supplements and activities designed to reflect the requirements of the Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum. Talk to your school Health and Physical Education Lead or Curriculum Consultant to find out if your School Board subscribes. (Ophea).
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) – CAMH provides information and a variety of resources and teaching strategies related to substance use. (CAMH).
  • iMinds - A Health Literacy Resource – For Grades 4 to 12. This free health education resource aims to help students maximize their drug literacy, by building knowledge and skills needed to survive and thrive in a world where drug use is common. The resource has been designed to support BC Ministry of Education curricula, but is adaptable and available for use in Canadian schools. (Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research)
  • Supporting Minds: An Educator’s Guide to Promoting Student’s Mental Health and Well-being
  • The Art of Motivation is a tool that teachers can use to communicate with students about challenging issues, to help students explore making positive changes to their behaviour, including their use of alcohol, drugs, and substance abuse. (Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia).
  • Cycles - a film-based resource that encourages teens to talk openly and honestly about decision-making and marijuana use. The resource features a 28-minute film about fictional high school students and their relationships with cannabis. It includes a facilitator’s guide with lesson plans, teaching tips, student handouts and quick facts about cannabis use (Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research). Potential for use in Grade 8 classrooms.
  • Ontario Ministry of Education - Legalization of Recreational Cannabis: Educator webpage
  • Opioid Frequently Asked Questions for Educators
  • Opioid Overdose Fact Sheet
  • Info Sheet - Prescription opioids, including fentanyl: What educators need to know.
  • Canadian Public Health Association pot and driving campaign - This campaign is designed to raise awareness of the risks associated with cannabis-impaired driving. The resources include:
    • A discussion guide for use by adults with adolescents
    • 10 questions for teenagers
    • Frequently asked questions
    • Downloadable poster.

Government Websites:

Cannabis: What Parents/Guardians and Caregivers Need to Know - Includes facts on cannabis, harms of use, recognizing signs of cannabis misuse, how to support your children, and sources of additional information. Available in English and in French.

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